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GMC Terrain Headlight Recall Fix Is Just a Piece of Tape

GMC calls it a "Headlamp Applique Kit." A more honest name is the piece of cloudy tape that keeps the NHTSA off of the company's case.
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Own a GMC Terrain built between 2010 and 2017? You’d best head to the dealership: There’s a piece of tape with your name on it. Yes, GMC has come up with a fix for an issue it didn’t seem enthusiastic about addressing. At certain angles, the NHTSA says the car’s headlights are too bright. To dim the brightness, GMC is using a foggy little adhesive patch applied to the lens of the headlamp. It must be said it’s not a very elegant solution but the NHSTA wasn’t in the mood to make any compromises.

The defect, which affects 740,000 vehicles, was formally recalled back in March. Before that, GMC made it pretty clear it didn’t really want to fix the issue. The company went back and forth with the NHTSA, noting that there was only one consumer complaint relating to the brightness of the headlamps. It didn’t really affect safety, GMC alleged, but the feds weren’t sold. The NHTSA insisted it was still dangerous and now we’re seeing the results of this enlightening discourse: About three-quarter million “Headlamp Applique Kits.” Owners don’t seem amused, as TireMeetsRoad first spotted.


The tape does what the government wants, though. Headlights on all new Terrains are different so they don’t have the same issue.

Technicians at dealers are likely to get a kick out of the recall. The repair instructions say to make sure it’s above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, clean the headlights thoroughly, and stick the piece of tape on where the kit says to. The tech installing the tape will be paid for 12 minutes of work for the whole job. It all reeks of malicious compliance, but if it works, it works. At least until it rains.

Letters notifying owners that they need the stickers installed were mailed Sept. 8.

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